THE absence of Sabah Bersatu chief coordinator Hajiji Mohd Noor at the state assembly sitting today, the day his former boss, Musa Aman, was present, has raised questions about the ties between the once-strong allies.
Hajiji, who joined Bersatu in April, led eight Sabah Umno state reps, including four MPs, out of the lynchpin Barisan Nasional party in December last year.
This left Musa, the former chief minister, as the only Sabah Umno rep in the state legislative assembly.
A aide to Hajiji, however, moved to quash talk that his boss was avoiding Musa.
Observers have suspected that Musa was supposed to join Bersatu with Hajiji and the others, but the move fell through after the Sibunga assemblyman was charged in court.
“The only ties Musa has with Bersatu now is through Membakut rep Ariffin Mohd Ariff, who is the former chief minister’s son-in-law, who defected to Bersatu,” the aide said.
Musa’s son, Sipitang MP Hafez Yamani, who also left Sabah Umno with Hajiji last year to join Bersatu, has not been accepted by Bersatu – for now at least.
A source said the fallout between Hajiji and Musa was caused by the latter, who left the former Umno reps leaderless and without a clear direction after the party lost power last year in the May 9 general election.
“Musa, who was technically the leader, left Sabah, leaving Hajiji and the others without a clear direction on what to do.
“This was perhaps why Hajiji, as well other Sabah Umno reps, were not happy with Musa,” the source said.
Bersatu officially spread its wings to Sabah on April 6 in a grand event in Penampang launched by party chair Dr Mahathir Mohamad and president Muhyiddin Yassin.
Those officially accepted into the party are Sulaman rep Hajiji, Masidi Manjun (Karanaan), Japlin Akim (Usukan), Rahim Ismail (Pantai Manis), Ariffin Mohd Arif (Membakut), Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan (Apas) and Bahadar Khan (Kawang).
The Sabah MPs are Abdul Rahim Bakri (Kudat), Azizah Mohd Dun (Beaufort), Ronald Kiandee (Beluran) and Zakaria Mohd Edris (Libaran).
Musa, who arrived at the state assembly sitting about 9.50am, was welcomed by supporters.
Witnesses said his former colleague and staunch ally, Masidi Manjun, also did not greet Musa while he was approaching the opposition bench.
Only a few Bersatu reps were seen approaching Musa as he left the hall about 11am today, including Japlin Akim, Nizam Abu Bakar TItingan and Zakaria Mohd Edris.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT